What Does Chemical Peels Do for Your Skin?

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.

If you’ve landed on this page, chances are you have skin issues that are starting to bother you. Congratulations for doing your research! You may be wondering if and how chemical peels can help you get rid of your skin issues. Here, we break down the facts behind chemical peels for you.

Chemical Peels: What is it?

Chemical peels have always been one of the most popular minimally-invasive skin care procedures available. Chemical peels work by utilizing chemicals to deliberately damage the skin, causing old, damaged skin to peel off. This process, in turn, signals skin cells to produce more collagen and elastin fibers, and for newer, fresher, younger-looking skin to surface and replace old skin. The general result is a more radiant, well-toned skin that often bears less lines and creases compared to the old, flushed out skin.

What are Types of Chemical Peels?

Chemical peel procedures have a wide array of variations depending on the chemical used to wound the skin. Some of the most common chemical peels are listed below.

  • Trichloracetic Acid Peels: Among all available chemical peels, Trichloroacetic Acid peel, or TCA peel, is classified as a medium-strength chemical peel. TCA is your best bet if you’re trying to steer your face clear of fine lines, age spots, freckles, acne scars, and skin discoloration. TCA peels will usually have your skin peeling for about a week which also corresponds to its associated downtime.
  • Phenol Peels: Phenol peels are full strength chemical peels which can leave your skin looking severely sunburned for as less as two weeks up to as much as three months. Phenol peels result to tighter-, firmer-looking skin that can last for years. However, phenol peels may not be the best procedure if you have sensitive skin.
  • Alpha-hydroxy Peels: Also known as AHA peels, this type of chemical peels are low-strength peels most ideal for sensitive skin types. Results are often less drastic though regular use can result to more noticeable results over the long-term. Some of the most commonly used AHA peels are lactic acid, citric acid, and salicylic acid. AHA peels are often available for home use in low doses. Higher concentrations of AHA peels may be administered by a certified dermatologist in a clinic setting.
  • Glycolic Acid Peels: Glycolic acid peel is a type of AHA peel that is the mildest type of chemical peel there is. Owing to its mild nature, it is the chemical peel associated with the least amount of risk and the shortest downtime.
  • Over the Counter Chemical Peels: Many of the chemical peels administered in skin care clinics are available over-the-counter though in lesser concentrations. If you have sensitive skin or cannot accommodate a long downtime, and are not suited for deep chemical peels anyway, over-the-counter chemical peels may work best for you. Over-the-counter products are more affordable and have less risks associated with them. Some commercially marketed peels have special formulations that not only aim to weaken bonds between outer skin cells and flush them out but, also contain other chemicals and compounds to help even out skin tone and maximize the skin radiance you can derive from over-the-counter peels as well.

Is it Helpful for Aging Skin?

Yes. Chemical peels catalyse skin repair and renewal processes, promoting the replacement of old, tired-looking skin with younger, rejuvenated skin.

Who is a Good Candidate for a Chemical Peel?

Anybody can avail of a chemical peel. The procedure is generally safe for all skin types though patients with more sensitive and darker skin tone should take precaution. Both skin types should stick with milder chemical peels like lactic acid.

How it Works to Get Younger Skin Tone?

Chemical peels deliberately bruise the skin to catalyse skin repair and renewal processes to occur.

How many Treatments will You Need?

How often to undergo chemical peel depends on the strength of the chemical used for peeling and the desired effect.

What are The Benefits of This Treatment?

Chemical peels can clear fine lines, even out skin tone, erase age spots, and clear discolorations.

Does This Treatment Cause Any Harmful Effects?

Side effects include temporary discomfort, burning sensation, redness and swelling. Without proper attention, bruised skin may become infected. No long-term effects are directly associated with chemical peels.

What Users Have Experienced?

People who have availed of chemical peels report a stinging sensation starting during treatment and which may last for weeks up to three months following the procedure, depending on the strength of chemical used. Those who have availed of deep peeling noticed dramatic visible results a few weeks after treatment, while those who have undergone milder peels notice visible improvements after five to six treatments.

Bottom Line

As you continue your search for the ultimate solution to your skin care problem, remember that there is no one procedure that can solve all your skin care worries in a single treatment.